Genetically Compatible Stem Cell Donor Could Be The Key To A Pennsylvania Mother’S Future

Vivian Chang Larsson, a 44-year-old mother from Montgomery County, is in a dire search for a stem cell donor as she battles acute myeloid leukemia. Despite receiving chemotherapy, Vivian, who was born in Taiwan, faces the challenge of finding a donor with a similar ethnic background, as genetic similarities within ethnic groups significantly increase the chances of a successful stem cell transplant. Her situation underscores the broader issue that individuals from minority groups, including those of Asian descent, have lower odds of finding a matching donor due to a lack of diversity in donor registries.

Dr. Air Mbuli, associated with the National Marrow Donor Program, is assisting Vivian in her quest to find a suitable donor. The unique genetic components tied to one’s ancestry play a crucial role in the compatibility of stem cell transplants, as these transplants reboot the immune system. This genetic component is why Vivian’s best hope lies within donors who share her Taiwanese heritage. Efforts are being made to raise awareness about the critical need for more diverse donors, emphasizing that joining the registry is as simple as a cheek swab.

As Vivian continues her treatment, she remains hopeful that a donor will be found. Her family and supporters are actively advocating for more people to join the stem cell donor registry, highlighting the life-saving potential it holds. Vivian’s story brings to light the urgent need for increased diversity among donors to improve the chances of finding matches for patients from all ethnic backgrounds.

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